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Kenji's DilemmaEdit

The words Yoshiro had said to Kenji when he came out of his Inner World shocked him, to tell the truth. He was walking ahead of the others currently, because he wanted time to himself and time to think. Whatever it was that was causing these dreams, Kenji was frightened of it. He would admit that much. He remembered the dread he felt when his energy began rising on its own without control, remembered feeling like he was an outsider looking through his own eyes. Just what the hell is happening to me? It still felt like his hands were trembling. To stop them, he grasped his zanpakuto's hilt in a white-knuckled grip and exhaled slowly, going through old calming techniques his mother taught him. It involved picturing a raging river in your mind that slowed gradually until not even a ripple broke its surface.

When like that, he could feel more. His father said it was something that came with being a Shinigami. The Soul Society, even areas as remote as this area in the Rukon District, had spiritual particles in abundance. But that wasn't what made him jump back; or draw his zanpakuto to deflect a knife-like projectile. Landing lightly, Kenji spun and deflected two more before catching the third straight out of the air. They were small throwing discs with one side designed for cutting while the other balanced it as if flew. Looking around, Kenji turned and saw his friends running towards him, "Wait! Don't move!"

Looking around anxiously, Kenji tried his best to calm his body and mind, but even mental exercises weren't helping him now. "Well, well," A voice called from the darkness. It was male, but its origin was lost. A second ago, this area was as clear as the star filled sky; but now it was covered in a thick, menacing fog that clung to the skin and left you blind. Kenji discarded his eyes and closed them, trying to feel instead. Yoshiro and Momoko were fine, if a little annoyed. He was suddenly sent flying and smacked against the trunk of a tree with enough force to snap it clean in two!

Coughing blood, Kenji tried to find his attacker, but his vision was obscured by that damn fog! Damn that hurt...My bodies in agony, after only one blow. He struggled to his feet and an unseen force struck him hard in the chest with enough force to knock every ounce of air from his lungs. Falling to his knees, another struck him between the eyes. Vision blurring and ears ringing from the blow, Kenji tried to stand but only fell to the ground uselessly. "Freeze Aisumēkā!" A barrier of the coldest ice formed a shield in front of Kenji and there stood Yoshiro! "Momoko, heal his injuries. That barrier will hold for a while. Now, I think it's time to get rid of this fog." An aura of coldness radiated from Yoshiro's body and the moisture in the air was completely removed, becoming one with the icy aura surrounding the young Shinigami.

A man with white robes and two curved blades greeted them when the mist cleared. "Hmm? You got rid of the mist, did you? That's unfortunate. Now, young Yoshiro, kindly step aside so i can dispose of the weakling behind you."

Shaking his head, Yoshiro slammed his right hand into his open palm! Sharpened Ice sprouted from the ground in multiple places, and the man was forced into the sky. "What and abandon my friend to you? Yeah right, get real!" An eagle of the most brilliant design ever flew from Yoshiro's hand towards the white robed man, but was cut clean in two by one of his dual-zanpakuto.

Kenji's Shikai Release

Kenji's Shikai revealed!

Yoshiro grunted, and turned in surprise as a hand grasped his shoulder. Kenji stood beside him, mouth bloody, but his eyes, crimson or not, were determined...and angry. "Yoshiro," he whispered, voice raspy, "We'll take this guy together, okay? Momoko. We'll need your help." Spiritual energy swirled around him and for once, his eyes didn't glow their crimson color, they glowed dark blue like they were supposed to. "Strike Aoi Inazuma!" Kenji held his sword to the heavens, and both Yoshiro and Momoko leaped back as a bolt of lightning struck his blade, "just try to hit me again, you white-robe wearing bastard!" The smoke cleared, revealing Kenji's Shikai. It was an elegantly curved blade with no real guard to speak of and more designed for one handed combat than two. Lightning discharged around Kenji's body.

"That's the way to do it, Kenji. Let's get 'em!" Yoshiro fell in to Kenji's right and nodded.

Momoko fell in on the left and grinned, "Well, you aren't leaving me out of this. My Kidō might be able to help, you know." She patted both on the back and sighed.

The Trickster

The Trickster reappears!

"I guess I should tell you my name, at least. I am The Trickster, and I'm here to kill you, Kenji Hiroshi."

3 on 1! The Trickster Strikes!Edit

Kenji eased himself forward, his eyes burning crimson in the night; more from anger than actual spiritual energy. Yoshiro took several deep breathes beside before spreading his legs out and placing both arms out in front, slightly crossing as spiritual energy swirled around him. "Kenji, Momoko," He whispered, "Be careful. I can't sense a particle of spiritual energy from this guy."

"Yeah, it's feels so weird, doesn't it?" Momoko whispered back just as quietly, "I mean, he could be as strong as a Captain for all we know!"

"It doesn't matter how tough he is! Or even if we can't sense how strong he is!" Kenji retorted, lightning cloaking his blade. "We won't go down without a fight! I'll wager he bleeds like everyone else," The three attacked as one, Kenji heading straight down the middle, zanpakuto crackling with blue lightning; Yoshiro and Momoko on his right and left respectively.

With a grin, The Trickster leapt into the air, and when he came down again, he slammed his fist into the ground with enough force to split the ground, forming a wall of earth between him, Yoshiro and Momoko! Uttering a curse, Kenji and Mr. White robes clashed. Sparks flew, and with a mere flick of his wrist, Kenji was sent flying backwards! Flipping in the air and plunging his sword into the earth to slow himself, Kenji looked up and wished he hadn't. The Trickster was before him in an instant, blades coming in quickly!

A shield of ice sprang up again and several arrows of ice flew past Kenji to be deflected by the man in white. Yoshiro appeared, caught Kenji's hand and pulled him to his feet as he passed, "Momoko's got a plan! Attack him and move as much as you can, because if anything, it's gonna be flashy!" He straightened himself and released several ice arrows from his ice encrusted bow.

With a grin and growl, Kenji planted his feet firmly on the ground and propelled himself skyward. A platform of ice formed and Kenji propelled himself from that straight towards his enemy, who was still dodging ice arrows from Yoshiro's bow. Bakudō 39: Enkōsen!" A yellow shield formed in front of Kenji as he neared his foe.

Yoshiro's Shikai Ability

Aisumeka: Sasu yona Tama.

"Humph! You think a Kidō of your level will stop me, boy?" With a single strike, The Trickster shattered the shield, and then lashed out with his other blade. Kenji blocked barely and felt as though either his arm or sword was going to snap under the strain! That was heavy! He thought with a little fear. My dad doesn't even hit that hard when he goes all out! Backing away, Kenji turned as the area was cast in a bluish-white light. Yoshiro stood with a semi-frozen sphere of water at the fingertips of his outstretched hand, "Kenji, back up! I can't control all of this yet! Aisumēkā: Sasu yōna Tama (Ice Maker: Stabbing Sphere). Several sharpened shafts of ice shoot from the sphere at an incredible speed, one and all aimed for The Trickster, who's eyes actually widened beneath his hood.

The shafts struck home, but Yoshiro was panting rather heavily, "Woah!" Kenji exclaimed. "When the hell did you learn that one, man? That was awesome! Way to show that guy what's what!"

Yoshiro smiled and lowered his arms, chest falling and rising as he gasped for air, "That's what Aisumēkā taught me when I asked him about your dreams. That's the first time I've used it, and it'll be the last today. I'm nearly spent, Kenji. I can barely even keep my foot-" A white mass moving at a near untraceable speed shot from the mass of ice and delivered a powerful kick to Yoshiro's chest!

Kenji watched as his friend was sent flying a good fifty feet. What the hell can I do against that!? He brushed Yoshiro aside like a fly! Who the hell is this guy, huh, who!? Momoko appeared beside Yoshiro, and her eyes went wide with horror. As soon as she knelt beside him, the green light that signified healing Kidō sprang around her hands. "Hang on, Yoshiro," Kenji heard her say.

The Trickster walked forward slowly, cracking his neck muscles. "You're all alone, Kenji. Tell me what you feel. Fear, depair? Or maybe you just want it all to end?"

Kenji's full Shikai ability

Sandadoragon o Utsu in use.

The Trickster took to the air as a bolt of lightning fell from the sky! A dark blue aura formed around Kenji as he raised his zanpakuto to the heavens. "You'd better stand right where you are, you sneaky bastard! Because there's two things that could happen when I do what I'm about to. You die, or I die, because I'll be knackered after this." Kenji relaxed his posture and calmed his mind. His eyes remained crimson but his body was surrounded by his usual dark blue aura, but this time, he radiated electricity! Raising his blade to the heavens, Kenji grinned, "Sandādoragon o Utsu (Striking Thunder Dragon)," He called, as a large, spiraling mass of electrical energy shot from Aoi Inazuma's blade and took the form of a large, serpentine dragon with burning red eyes. Kenji directed the beast towards his enemy, who could do little else but defend because of the thing's size and width!

"What!?" The Trickster's voice echoed as a shaft of ice, rising from the ground caught his arm. Yoshiro lay weakly on the ground, a smile crossing his face, "I can give you one more, Kenji. Finish him," rue as his word, another column of ice rose from the ground and trapped The Trickster's other arm. Struggling against the bonds that held him, The Trickster could now do nothing but watch as the dragon descended upon him.

With a grin, Momoko formed a Shakkahō in her hand, "I stuck both Kenji and Yoshiro with a Kidō net before the battle begun." She touched the piece of the net closest to Yoshiro and watched as the flames of her spell and Kenji's dragon collided in a fantastic explosion that cast the entire area in a reddish blue flame! "Ha! Take that!" Kenji flashed immediately beside his fallen comrade and inspected the damage himself, barely keeping his feet from exhaustion.

He wasn't good at healing Kido, or even assessing the severity of a wound, but even he could see that Yoshiro wasn't in good shape. Shaking his head, Kenji slumped to his knees, "This is my fault," He whispered solemnly, pounding the ground with a closed fist "He was after me! Me! This shouldn't have happened." Momoko continued the healing with one hand and turned the other to Kenji. "I can at least restore a little of your spiritual energy. And it isn't your fault," She said forcefully.

The two were silenced, however, by a low, mocking laugh. "Don't speak about me as if I'm not here, boy! I'll admit, that was a nice trick, but you are all a hundred years too early to challenge me!" The Trickster shot forward with a Flash Step Kenji couldn't even follow and was beside Momoko and Kenji in an instant! Kenji retaliated reflexively with a blast of lightning, but Momoko was cut deeply across the chest! Kenji escaped with a shallow slice across his own chest. How the hell did he survive that! The son-of-a-bitch isn't even bleeding! Sure, he's burned slightly, but that's it!? Is this guy immortal or something? Looking at Momoko fall to the ground, and The Trickster slam his foot into Yoshiro's midsection, Kenji lost it.

"You're fighting me!" Kenji reached behind his back and drew a small wakizashi blade that instantly transformed to match his other Shikai blade, only it was slightly shorter. He slammed both blades into the earth and released a blast of electrical energy in the form of a shock-wave! He shot forward and struck viscously with both blades, attacking quickly and wildly with no care except that he was doing something to help his friends. The Trickster could do nothing but defend, but he was calm and collected and waited for his opportunity. He knew Kenji's reserves of energy would deplete, and then, he would strike...

Maki Zhijun full

Maki saves Kenji, Yoshiro and Momoko.

...and there it came! Kenji held his left leg and toppled as The Trickster sank his blade into his flesh. "...Someone told me never to attack in anger. You want to know who that someone...!" He leapt away and pulled his sword free as a man with a mask very nearly took the head from his shoulders! "Who are you! Speak!"

The fellow flashed quickly, grabbing Kenji, Yoshiro and Momoko before The Trickster could even do anything to stop him and then reappeared after leaving all three in a safe place some distance away, "Now, I believe you asked my name," The man declared in a strong tone that said exactly what he thought about what was going on, "but is it not polite to introduce yourself before asking someone for their name, Shade?" The man was tall, muscular and had snow white hair cut short with a scar running down his eye, but he wasn't blinded.

"...You may call me The Trickster," He replied curtly.

"Then you may call me Maki Zhijun."

Maki Zhijun? The Power of Blood.Edit

Maki eyed this Trickster fellow carefully. Those kids were getting pretty crazy there. I can't sense anything from this guy, but he's definitely the one who beat those kids to a pulp. But damn did they have some wild Reiatsu, and that Dragon! That kid with the lightning zanpakuto will only get stronger and stronger... But that still didn't explain why this fellow, who's Reiatsu was masked either by Kidō, or by the robes he wore, would attack three kids who were probably still in the Academy. "You'll tell me why you attacked those kids," Maki said calmly, but forcefully.

He began laughing, but Maki just stood there expecting an answer. "My masked friend-" Maki Flashed before the fellow and slammed his fist directly into his gut with enough force to send him trailing back a few feet. "Let's establish something," Maki said clenching his gauntleted fist, "You aren't my "friend". In fact, the only time I'd be caught even talking to you would be when I'd be kicking your ass up and down the street. Now, you will tell me why you attacked the kids." Forceful and calm. A brilliant combination.

Shaking the effects of the punch off, The Trickster began pacing on the spot. "...They attacked me first," He said finally, and he just dodged the downward palm strike Maki split the ground with.

"I think now," Maki uttered, withdrawing his hand from the ground and dusting it off. "I only sensed them because their spiritual signatures stenched of fear and intimidation. Now, why would three kids, who have spent a lot of time around her might I add, because I've seen them training, suddenly decide to attack a complete stranger, when they actually help people with odd jobs like repairing buildings after hollow attacks? Strikes me as kind of odd that."

The Trickster simply sighed and leveled his swords at Maki's head, "You want to know? Fine. I see no harm in revealing my target to you. I'm here for Kenji Hiroshi. The one who sent that bloody lightning at me."

"Okay, I see what's going on. You fear what he might become, don't you? Don't look so dumb, it's written all over your face. Unless you're completely incompetent, you can sense his spiritual energy. The kid has an incredible amount of it; so much he can't even hide it. The other boy's the same, but he lags a little behind. The girl's no pushover either, otherwise she wouldn't be able to stand beside them let alone train with them. Now, enough talk. Let's have some fight."

The Trickster kept his blades leveled, but his movements became cautious, his gaze analytical, "I answered your question, Maki, now answer mine. Why do you care so much about the fate of these kids? You don't even know their names."

Laughing under his breathe, Maki drew his zanpakuto; a Nodachi with a circular hilt and long blade. The weapon had three prongs extending from the hand-guard for decoration and the sheath was blood red in color with golden hilt wrapping. Leveling his own sword to mimic The Trickster's posture, Maki smiled, "You're wrong about that. As I said, I've seen these kids helping people in the Rukon District, and I've asked some questions. Kenji Hiroshi, Yoshiro Kazuki and Momoko Misaki; unless I'm thinking of three different kids. Returning to your original question; I'm helping because I chose to, and because they aren't strong enough to beat you. I am!" Maki shot forward and the two were locked in a stalemate that cracked the ground around them.

Pivoting on the balls of his feet, Maki struck out, parried The Trickster's first blade and blocked the second with his swords guard. Channeling energy through his zanpakuto, Maki pushed him back and kicked him in the right temple with a spin kick as he flew. Bouncing in place, Maki renewed his assault and appeared to his opponent's right, striking twice to parry his blade and a third time to wound his side. Landing in a heap, The Trickster rose, anger in his eyes. "Maki Zhijun. That was impressive. You move well for one so old."

Laughing, Maki shook his head. "Old? I'm not that old, boy. I'm still young enough to run rings 'round you, or perhaps you want to start showing your true power now?"

"My true power? Very well, but I'm afraid I can't show my face. That would be bad, wouldn't it?" Wind began to swirl around the fellow, the Reiatsu cloaking effect wearing off. Maki wished he hadn't of showed him. This fellow is easily Captain class...maybe stronger. His spiritual energy is massive, but calmly under control. How did those kids hold out so long against this? He could've crushed them all with a look! "I have to admit," Maki said quietly, "I didn't expect you to be at Captain level. That would explain why you weren't injured by Kenji's flashy dragon move and the girls Kidō. You were never in any real danger of being damaged, where you?"

"You are indeed perceptive, Maki Zhijun. But now, the gloves come off. Now, you will know what pain is like!" He shot forward with a special type of Flash Step that moved directly to the opponent's back in order to seal away their powers. Turning quickly, Maki repelled him and performed a Senka of his own. The Trickster wasn't surprised in the slightest and simply blocked before putting distance between himself and Maki.

Hmm, there were no opening's that I could see. That was a pretty good Senka. And he even managed to knick me...Blood flowed slightly from a cut on Maki's arm, but apart from that, he was fine. Time to see just how fast this Trickster is. Maki ran forward, cautious in his approach. He Flashed to several locations and The Trickster followed him with rather easily. Maki suddenly changed his direction and turned, attacking fiercely and with great strength! Forcing him to use both blades was the only thing Maki could do, otherwise he'd be cut to ribbons with the other, Maki drove him into the ground and slammed him down before flipping back to safety.

The Trickster rose and grinned. This Maki Zhijun is no ordinary Shinigami. And the fact I haven't heard of him troubles me. I know almost everything about the Gotei Thirteen's military strength, and they definitely wouldn't overlook someone this powerful...unless he's in exile? Hmm, it's a possibility. "Were you a Captain by nay chance, Maki?"

Maki examined his opponent carefully before answering, "No, I wasn't. I was an unseated officer in the 2nd and 11th Division before I left for training. Satisfied? Good, it's time for me to kill you. Chi no Gisei (Blood sacrifice)." Maki's zanpakuto turned completely blood red and a small chain with a broken link at the end formed on the hilt. Blood began to flow constantly from the small wound on Maki's shoulder, until a small pool of red liquid lay on the ground before him. "My zanpakuto uses my own blood as a weapon and can restore my own levels of blood after it takes some. Nice ability, isn't it?" Maki simply directed the liquid, which formed into tendrils, with his eyes.

The Trickster jumped back and then skyward to avoid, but a small drop landed on his left shoulder. With a grin, Maki clicked his fingers! Screaming in agony, The Trickster fell to the ground and clutched the hole in his shoulder, "What is this? I avoided it!"

"Correction," Maki interjected, voice and posture confident. "You dodged about 98% of it. You see, this isn't any normal blood. It's infused with my own spiritual energy, and when I snap my fingers, any surface it lands on apart from myself and those I wish to protect, get a hole driven in them proportionate to the size of the blood they get hit with. That was a small bit you were struck with, but it removed a lot of tissue and muscle."

"...It sounds a lot like matter transportation. An interesting and painful technique, Maki Zhijun. You are truly an interesting individual." The pain that wracked his voice previously was gone, as was the surprise at being wounded by an attack he thought he had dodged.

"It sounds like that because that's exactly what it is. Now, farewell Trickster. I enjoyed our fight, but it ends now!" The Trickster, however, slipped into a Garganta and grinned as it closed, "I'll be back sooner or later, Maki, and next time, the boy dies."

Maki Zhijun portrait

Maki Zhijun.

Left to ponder the situation, Maki Flashed to the location he left Kenji, Yoshiro and Momoko in. When he got there, Kenji was using what little he skill he did have in healing to keep the girl alive. Tears filled his eyes and his shoulders trembled. "You won't be able to save her, boy. She's lost too much blood for you to do that." Maki knelt beside him and examined the wound. How he missed her vital organs is beyond me, but the cut's pretty deep and she's lost a lot of blood. It doesn't look good...

Kenji lifted his head and thumped the ground in anger. It was amazing he could still move, and sustain any form of Kido after performing an attack like that dragon one. "...You have to help them," He pleaded. "I'll do anything! Just save them!!!"

Looks like I've got no choice. I've already used a lot of my own blood, but...Maki trailed his finer through some of Momoko's blood and tasted it. "Blood group A, eh? Okay, step back, boy. Hurry up!" Blood flowed from Maki's wound again and a grimace of pain crossed his face. His blood poured into Momoko, not only restoring her blood levels, but restoring her chest to perfect condition. Panting afterwards, Maki looked at Yoshiro lying on the ground. Maki ran his hand over his body to inspect the wounds. He's got internal damage. Great, just great. This will hurt me more than it does you, kid. Just hope it's worth it. Maki made a small cut on Yoshiro's chest with his zanpakuto and then tasted his blood again. Group A as well? That makes things easier. He drove his own blood through the wound he opened and watched as the youngster's breathing eased.

Maki fell backwards and was caught by an equally exhausted Kenji. "How did you do that? Was that...some kind of Kido? I mean, you pumped blood into them!" His face was weary, but his eyes held a thirst for knowledge.

Laughing weakly, Maki gave his answer. "My zanpakuto. It's normally used to kill my enemies, but it has another use. I can greatly increase the amount of blood my body makes and then bring it out. Take the girl over there for example. She had a deep cut down her chest. I'm blood group B, she's group A. I taste the person's blood to fid that out. I then change the blood's group that I've poured out. The red and white blood cells then work at an incredibly accelerated rate to heal the target. But healing wounds of that magnitude while in Shikai is difficult."

Kenji was silent for a time and then nodded. "I don't care about any of that. I'm just happy there going to be okay!" He suddenly got to his feet and looked around anxiously, "Where is that bastard! Someday I'm gonna tear him apart!"

Maki dragged him back to the ground and looked him in the eye. "Listen kid, that guy is a Captain class fighter! Unless you start training your backside off right now, I don't foresee you beating him anytime soon. But then, that's where I come in."

"...I'm not following you." Kenji replied quietly.

"Goodness gracious, lad, do I need to spell it out for you!? I'm offering to train you! I know methods that the current Gotei Thirteen won't even consider, let alone do. I can make you powerful enough to fight that guy effectively in a few months tops. What do ya say, kid? Know this, only you. I don't train two or three students."

Kenji pondered the proposal for a time, but it wasn't him that answered. "...Kenji you idiot. Say yes already!" Yoshiro said, struggling to sit up straight. He was pushed back down by a firm hand from Maki. "Listen, I'm gonna get Ryouta to train the living daylights outta me. He can do a better job with only one student. Take him up on his offer, you moron, or I'll bat ya in the mouth!"

Kenji sighed and nodded his head in agreement, "Okay, I'll be your student, Maki. Yoshiro, afterwards, you and me are having a match! And after that, I'm kickin' The Trickster's ass!"

A Talk with KoichiEdit

Koichi Hiroshi watched his son perform quick, dual bladed strikes against a dummy in the front yard. A tall, muscular man with a scar running down his right eye, leaned against the houses wooden wall. Koichi knew who the man was - there wasn't a Shinigami in the Soul Society who didn't know Maki Zhijun - and knew he could be trusted. "So, this fellow was definitely called The Trickster? You are sure, Maki?"

Maki nodded quickly at the question, "He said it plain as day, Koichi. You're son, by the way, fought very well. I was surprised when that Trickster fellow showed his true power. He was easily Captain class, and yet all three are still alive. When I inspected Kenji's injuries after the battle, all he had was a headache, a shallow wound across his chest and a sword wound on his leg. Considering his opponent, he done very well indeed."

Koichi nodded slowly and then rose from his seat on the ground. "...I need to thank you for stepping in when you did, Maki. And If you're going to train him, then you need to know the truth. Ryouta's close by, keeping a look out. Come with me, would you?"

Maki nodded, but followed slowly. Why do I get the feeling I'll be seeing this trickster again soon? But that doesn't explain why? Perhaps Koichi will provide me with an answer to that one question...and a few others.

The two stopped in a small clearing within eye shot of the house. Turning, Koichi began puffing on a cigarette. "Ryouta and I found Kenji sixteen years ago in the a back alley along with his nurse. The woman was dead." Maki nodded with a grin. Ah, so Koichi isn't actually the lad's father? Well, apart from the way he acts and fights, there isn't much of a similarity. "The Trickster tried to kill him that night. Ryouta and I managed to scare him off."

"This is all starting to make sense. I was wondering why someone so strong was after a kid like Kenji." So much for getting an answer to my questions. I've just got more questions. "Sure he's powerful, and has great potential, but that's not much of a reason, is it? Please, continue. You've got me interested."

Koichi sighed and looked at the figure training in the yard. "We don't even know why he's being targeted, Maki. The Trickster has came after him three times now, and the last twice, neither Ryouta or myself were there to help. The last time, he was saved by my mentor, Garian Shinjo and my friend Jiro Kazuki, and they knocked The Trickster black and blue. But couldn't stop him from escaping. He was only three then, and has no memory of it. He slept through the entire battle."

"So this guy's hell bent on killing the kid for some reason then." Maki paced a little and took a puff of Koichi's cigarette when offered. "Okay, I'm still offerin' to train him, though. He'll be with me the entire time and I've already proven I can beat Ol' White Robes back. He didn't use his Shikai, or Bankai, but I never used my full power either. Besides, I have a friend that's offered to help. Name's Rikimaru Ichinose. The guy was trained by our head-Captain personally, and has fully mastered his Bankai. If we two can't give The Trickster pause, then I don't know what will."

Koichi grinned broadly as he rose, crushing his cigarette below his foot and immediately getting another, "...I'll entrust his training and care to you, then Maki. Look after him, train him well, and if The Trickster comes again, kill him. Now, if I may ask, what type of training are you considering?"

Maki grinned and looked around, "That's where Rikimaru comes in. He's got more spiritual energy than he knows what to do with. And The Trickster won't wait around for Kenji to get stronger. We've got little time, but I've got a plan. I can make him strong in no time at all. But I'll have to toughen him up a little first before we try what I've got in mind."

"I think I know where you're going with this," Koichi said with a sigh. "...I'll cover for you, as best as I can. Just make him strong, okay, Maki? I'm going with Garian to gather some info about this guy. The sample of Reiatsu you managed to preserve after the fight should help with that." Koichi vanished, leaving Maki alone in the clearing. The Trickster... Kenji, you'll have to blow past your old limits and do something spectacular if you even want to nick this guy. I just hope my training doesn't break you...

Next Story > A Goal in Sight

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